Live, Love, Create!

Ep 14 Developmental Editing VS Manuscript Evaluations-What's The Difference?

November 11, 2021 Stephanie Bourbon Episode 14
Live, Love, Create!
Ep 14 Developmental Editing VS Manuscript Evaluations-What's The Difference?
Show Notes Transcript

This week I'm talking about the difference between a DEVELOPMENTAL EDIT and a MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION for your novel.

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Hey, this is Stephanie bourbon and welcome back to my podcast. This week, I am going to discuss the difference between a manuscript evaluation and a developmental Edit. This is a question I get asked all the time, and I also see people posting incorrect information on social media. So sit back grab a cuppa, and let's get started. I'm Stephanie bourbon. And this is the live love creative podcast for female writers with a focus on fiction, screenwriting and television writing come back every week for new episodes. Okay, I'm talking about manuscript evaluations, and developmental editing and what the differences are, again, I said in the intro, people get these two confused very, very, very often. So I just want to go over it. So you understand, I am a story coach, I coach female writers who are working on screenplays and also television shows. But recently, I got certified to be a book coach because I have been coaching novelists for a few years as well. And I offer manuscript evaluations, partial manuscript evaluations, which is really your first pages and developmental edits, and they are different. And here is how, and why they are two separate things. Basically, a manuscript evaluation is not the same as developmental editing. Because there is a lot less detailed. A developmental edit is a lot more of a deep dive into your story. And that's why it usually costs a lot more a manuscript evaluation is really a analysis of your story. For me personally, like I go over the story structure and plot, is it working? Is it paced? Well? Is it moving in the right way? Does it make sense for the genre? And then I might go over your characters? Are the character strong enough? Is their narrative arc working? How can you make it stronger? Is the story itself working? Does it again fit with the genre? Is it something that's marketable? And I will sometimes go into grammatical things, if I notice a lot of that, but honestly, that is more for line editing and copy editing. But if I see a lot of mistakes, I will let you know about that. That is basically the process for an A met a manuscript evaluation. Basically, your manuscript evaluation gives you an idea of what is working and what isn't working. Now, just like all writers are different, and all people are different, all coaches are different. And all editors are different. So we might have different approaches. But this is how I approach it, I will give you a high level overview of what is working and what isn't working and give you a plan to fix your story or make your story stronger. I don't like to say fix, because I don't believe that stories are broken. But I do believe that you can make them stronger. There are also times when I will do the evaluation actually, almost every time I do an evaluation of a manuscript, I will give you recommendations for courses and no, they're not all mine. Although I do have courses that may help you I don't know until I read your your manuscript. But I will give you craft book recommendations and course recommendation and blog recommendations and other resources that will help this specific issues. Now, this is the way that I personally do it. But it really is not your developmental edit, which I'm going to go into right now. So the developmental editor is going to be a lot more in depth or developmental edit working as a developmental editor, I can tell you that when I do a developmental edit, I go much deeper into what's working, what isn't working, and I will ask you lots and lots of questions. A developmental editor will really help you develop your story. Now, some people confuse that with copy editing and they're like you shouldn't go to a developmental editor until your story is done completely and ready. That's not the case. That developmental editor will work with you in early drafts to make sure that you're developing the story, the structure, the characters, the plot, the arcs, and everything in a way that serves your story the best possible way. I also give a more detailed editorial letter in the manuscript evaluation I give you an editorial letter that goes over broad things are might be three things you need to work on like character, voice and structure. But in your developmental editor new get a much longer in depth, you will get a much longer in depth editorial letter that includes a written critique and extensive notes that will go over the strengths and weaknesses of the book, marketability, feedback, I will also go into your novel and give you notes in the margin now not on every single line. But every chapter you will get notes that will help you I will ask you questions. Sometimes when I work with writers, they're like, why are you asking me all these questions? You know, did you not read this part? It's like I did read the part. But I'm asking you the questions. Because I want you to think about these things. These are questions that readers may have when they're reading your book. And what you really want to do is make sure that your story is strong, then that is how a developmental editor can help you do it by asking you questions as they're reading your manuscript and really digging deep, it is much more time consuming, it usually costs a lot more up to four or five times as much as a manuscript evaluation. Well, every editor is different. Every editor has their own processing, the way that they process payments, or not process payments, their own way of doing it, and how they price things. So you, you really need to look and find somebody who you believe is right for you. And I'm going to give you some suggestions at the end of this podcast. So please listen all the way through. But first, I just want to go over again, the differences. A manuscript evaluation, or partial manuscript evaluation is just that it's an evaluation of your story, what's working, what might not be working and suggestions on how you can make it stronger, it doesn't take quite as long as the developmental edit, which is a much more extensive editing, and feedback of your story. With a lot more questions in a manuscript evaluation, I will go over everything. I also offer a coaching call for my writers, and we talk about everything. And I also usually will give a deep dive on the first two chapters included with the manuscript evaluation, because the first two chapters are really what make or break the, if you're going for an agent, or even your readers, readers make decisions very quickly and stories these days. Now in a developmental edit, you will also get a coaching call from me, again, every editor is different. So you have to choose the right editor. And it is also like finding an agent or finding a book coach or finding a spouse or your friends to hang out with. There's personality involved. There's, you know, how many years have they been doing it, if that's important to you, if you like their style, so I always offer a free 30 Minute Calls to see if it's right for me and somebody to work together. But in my developmental edit, you're going to get a much more thorough review of your story and your structure and your plot. And I'm going to ask you a lots of tough questions about your book, and I'm going to help you make it stronger. I'm going to literally help you develop that novel into a great story. I said earlier that I would go over some ways to find developmental editors and manuscript evaluations. You can do it through recommendations, you can find people on Facebook group, but you really have to ask yourself where you are and what you are needed. If you have just blasted out a book for NaNoWriMo or you are writing a book for NaNoWriMo you probably would be better off going with a manuscript evaluation. But you can go with a developmental editor and then most likely, you will go into book coaching with that person, as they will help you longer term, revise your book and work on it and develop it. I personally when people come to me with a brand new book in December, I usually do manuscript evaluations. And I will read it and let them know how I feel the book is what the strengths are, what the weaknesses are. And many times after that they will go revise and come back and we will do a developmental edit together. It is a process. Hiring a book coach is a long game, not a short one. And a book coach is somebody who will help you get to the heart of your story. Many of us offer ongoing book coaching monthly or packages like four or five months I used to have a four month package but now I do month to month after you have done either a developmental edits a partial developmental edit or a partial manuscript edit I'm sorry, I made a mistake. There are partial manuscript evaluation, or a full manuscript evaluation and I in the shownotes there are links to my coaching and my website so you can look everything up. But there are many places that you can find coaches because I might not be the right coach for you. You might be writing high fantasy and I generally don't work with writers who are already in high fantasy because I I have niched down. And I really only work with women's fiction Chiclet, contemporary romance, sweet romance, you know, Hallmark type movie type books, that kind of thing. But every buddy is different in who they work with, which is why you really have to search out how to find somebody, I was recently certified through author accelerator. And if you go to the author accelerator website, you can also fill out their form. And they will actually place you with a book coach, and you tell them what you're looking for. There are so many ways to find them. But just make sure that you really have a clear picture of what you are hoping to get out of it. Most book coaches and editors will have some kind of intake form or discovery form that they will send to you fill that out the best you can, and it'll help them decide if the relationship is going to be one that's going to work or is not going to work. One thing I want to address really fast is why does it cost so much, this is something that I get asked all the time. And I see posts, and I'm also part of the editorial freelancers Association and the northwest, as a freelance editor Association and Northwest editors Association. And sometimes I see people that are like, well, I want an editor to read my 85,000 page book, and I'm going to give you $250, like that should be enough, you're getting paid to read a book. But we're not just reading your book, we're evaluating your book. And it's the years you're paying for the years of experience that we have. I've been a writer for three plus decades. And I also worked as an actress, and I've been studying, you know, characters since I was a small child. So I am bringing a lot of experience to the table for me. And that's why I priced the way that I do I also live in California. So the cost of living is higher here than it is in some places. Now, everybody price is different. Some people do by the word some people do by the hour, some people do flat rate, everybody does it different, you have to find somebody who's right for you. And if you really don't have the money to hire a developmental editor, or a book coach or a manuscript evaluation, that is fine. There are so many resources out there for you to do it yourself. It might take you a little bit longer. But you can do it without I do suggest, if you are trying to save money, that you get recommendations for that you get recommendations for developmental editors, but coaches and people who do manuscript evaluations from other writers, you know, I advise against using the cheap freelance places because you get what you pay for in life. And if somebody isn't charging much, chances are they're not doing a great job that said, I do know some editors who are amazing, who don't charge as much as some of the rest of us do. And that's their thing, everybody, everybody prices the way that they're going to price. So unfortunately, there is no right answer, but you are paying for the experience and the knowledge that we have, it's just like coaching fitness, you can get a personal trainer at your, you know, 24 Hour Fitness or whatever and pay your 20 or $30 Each session, or you can hire a private personal trainer, and you might pay 1600 for four sessions, or, you know, I know somebody in LA pays $1,000 a week for their personal trainer, and they only see them twice a week for 30 minutes. So the prices, unfortunately are going to be all over the place, do your research, but just know the difference between developmental editing and manuscript evaluations. And when you sign your agreement with your book coach who's doing that or your editor, just make sure that you're on the same page with them. Always, always ask questions if you don't understand and make sure you read whatever agreement or contract thoroughly because you are paying for it. So I hope this was helpful. And I apologize if I made a couple mistakes. Our puppy just got neutered, and he's making a little bit of noise. It's a little bit distracting, but I really want to get this podcast up to help everybody. I have lots of links in the show notes. And Jane Friedman has a blog and she is amazing. And you can pretty much look for anything in her blog. And she has lots of explanations and guests people who write for her I've written for her many other have and I will put all of that into the show notes. Thank you for listening. And always you can email me at hello at you Danny being calm and ask me questions. If you are really confused or need some help or you're like I still don't understand and I am happy to answer and you can also find me on social media. Okay, have an amazing rest of your week. Oh, and if you're NaNoWriMo mean, I'm super excited for you and I hope that it's going amazing